Labour is considering a pledge to cut universal benefits such as the winter fuel allowance for wealthier pensioners.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4 today, Labour leader Ed Miliband said the party is considering whether to means-test pensioner benefits as part of its policy review.
All pensioners receive winter fuel allowance payments, free bus passes, a £10 Christmas “bonus” and free TV licences irrespective of how much they earn.
When asked whether he would make changes to pensioner benefits, Miliband told the BBC: “Of course in our policy review we will look at all these issues, of course it needs to be looked at.
“Actually independent evidence says it [the fuel allowance] has been a quite effective benefit to tackle the issue of fuel poverty. A lot of it is spent actually on the purpose it is intended for, fuel and keeping people warm.
“We are supporters of the winter fuel allowance, we think it s an important benefit, we think it has actually made a big difference but of course we look at all these issues.”
The Liberal Democrats support means testing pensioner benefits. The Conservatives have pledged to protect universal benefits for pensioners until 2015, but it was suggested earlier this year the work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith was looking at stopping winter fuel payments.
It was reported yesterday that Duncan Smith wanted wealthier pensioners to give back benefits such as the winter fuel allowance.